We have reached the last week of the month and signs of spring are popping out everywhere.
The majestic beauty of Japanese Magnolias is unfolding day by day. I have one tree that must have 200 or 300 blooms in the very top, but none on the lower branches so that I can trim and take inside to enjoy up close. This is the purple flowering one, beautiful purple on the outside of the petals and a creamy white on the inside.
The other magnolia tree has not started to bloom much, just a few in the top and they are pink with pinkish cream in side the petals.
The beautiful flowering Taiwan cherry puts on more flowers each day and is just lovely. On warmer days, the bees are buzzing in the tree as they pollinate and gather nectar.
The little flowering quince bush has a light sprinkling of pretty pink flowers on it. It has never been a heavy bloomer, possibly because it is in the shade most of the time.
Leucojum are up and quite a few are blooming. The prettiest bulbs blooming right now are jonquils, their bright yellow flowers are so welcome in the early spring. The flowers are small, not nearly as big as daffodils, but their bright intensity after the dimness of winter really stand out above the dead brown grass.
They are all just getting started and soon there will be many, many more waving in the breeze, but somehow those first ones seem to be the most welcome.
The warm days have camellia buds bursting into bloom with their big pretty red, pink or white flowers. One of mine has bloomed for the first time ever; it looks a little like "Black Magic" with thick waxy petals but the color is definitely a dark red, not almost black-red like "Black Magic." I have a couple of more that have never bloomed, but maybe this will be the year to get to see their flowers.
I did not get all of my roses pruned before Valentine's Day, maybe they will not know the difference. I do plan to jump on them this week and finish up. I have been determined to get all of the cherry laurel bushes cut out of the two beds near the front of the road. Each one I cut has been cut before and two branches have come up where originally there was only one.
It is very slow going and my back screams "stop, stop," the whole time, but I have almost conquered the worst bed and the other one has been completed. For inspiration while working on the worst bed, I look across the yard at the one that has been completed and try to keep pruning for a while longer.
As you plan for your flower beds this summer, try to include some pollinator flowers and also some native plants. Both are excellent for wildlife and of course pollinator plants will bring butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. For best results do not string the flowers out in a row but make a bed where they are growing very thickly and hungry hummers and butterflies can go from one bloom to the next.
Groups of plants are more attractive to pollinators as they do not have to waste energy going from sparsely spaced plants.
As plants are starting to come out, it's about time to cut liriope (monkey grass) back to remove the worn and tattered foliage from last year. If possible cut over it with the lawn mower on its highest setting, if you cannot do that, then weed-eat it down to a few inches above the ground. Shortly, the little green sprigs of foliage will be coming up out of the mass of roots.
After the amount of cold we have had this winter, maybe the amaryllis weevil will not be a problem. But as insurance to keep your bulbs from being eaten up, you can buy Bayer's Advantage granules with Imidacloprid and sprinkle over areas where you have amaryllis, lycoris and hymenocallis bulbs growing.
If the evil weevil does visit your garden, it can leave devastation behind as their larvae will eat the bulbs mentioned above. The granules last for three or four months and completely protect your bulbs from the weevils boring holes into the shoulders to lay their eggs and from the larvae eating the inside of the bulbs. Lowe's building supply sells Bayer Advanced granules.
Have you noticed the beautiful red maple trees putting out their small blooms? They are not as showy or as beautiful as domesticated shrubs and trees, but the many shades of red they bloom in, are so lovely.
I am out of space, see you next week.
Susan Grooms lives and gardens in Lowndes County.